Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Gold, Precious Metals Scale Accuracy Improves


Heightened Enforcement Improves Gold and Precious Metals Scale Accuracy

(Salt Lake City) A 12 month long focus on improving the accuracy of devices used to measure gold and precious metals has resulted in a dramatic improvement in scale accuracy.  Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) Weights and Measures inspectors report that 83 percent of scales tested in 2014 were found to be operating accurately.  That is in comparison with a 38 percent accuracy rate for 2013. 

“We revisited the hundreds of pawn shops and precious metals buying stores throughout the state this year and found the vast majority were using scales that were accurate and in compliance with national standards,” said Brett Gurney, Weights and Measures Program Manager.  “It appears our education efforts are paying off for the business and for the good of the public.  Our goal is 100 percent accuracy,” he added.

This year 313 inspections were conducted, with 54 scales being found out of compliance, for an accuracy rate of 83 percent. Last year, 286 inspections were conducted, with 177 scales out of compliance, for an accuracy rate of 38 percent.

When a scale is found to be inaccurate, Weights and Measures inspectors issue the store owner a warning to correct the error within 10 days.  Follow up inspections showed that all of the scales that were originally out of compliance this year were corrected by store owners.                    

     There has been a high demand for gold and precious metals during the economic downturn of the past few years. In response to concerns from industry, consumers and other regulatory agencies, the Utah Weights and Measures Program routinely inspects locations that buy and sell gold to verify that their scales are accurate. Inspectors also investigate all measurement complaints.

Consumer Tips

While the UDAF and other regulatory and law enforcement agencies work to make sure all businesses that buy precious metals are educated and in compliance with regulations, consumers can make sure they are getting the fair value for their gold and other precious metals by following a few simple tips:

• Look for an inspection certification label on the scale from the UDAF’s Weights and Measures Program, indicating it has been inspected and tested.
• Make sure you can see the scale readings.
• The scale must register zero before weighing begins. If a container is used to hold the items being weighed, the   scale must register zero with the empty container on it.
• Do not allow weighing if the scale has wording that states “Not Legal for Trade.”
• Know if the scale is weighing in grams, troy ounces or pennyweights.
• Make sure conversion between units of measurement are correct.
• Make sure the scale is on a level surface
• Do not allow weighing if the scale indications are fluctuating; this may be caused by heating or air conditioning air currents, and may cause inaccuracies.

Visit the UDAF website for more information on scales used in commerce.

For more information, or to lodge a complaint about the accuracy of a commercial scale in Utah, contact the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, 801-538-7158, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Look for this inspection certification label on the scale.
Weights & Measures Seal 2014









posted: December 18, 2014